Photo: AAP Image/Peter Rae
MICHAEL ROWLAND: A big week in federal politics and the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, I’m pleased to say, joins us from the always bustling Sydney Markets. Prime Minister good morning to you.
PRIME MINISTER: G’day Michael. I’m here supporting people who get up early for a living.
PRIME MINISTER: That would include you too mate.
ROWLAND: We like people who get up early here. Hey, let's talk about the economy. Former Treasurer Peter Costello says your Government does not have an economic narrative. With friends like that, you don't need enemies.
PRIME MINISTER: Well, that was before I gave my speech yesterday at a lunch that he was at, I'm sure I turned him around by lunchtime. But Peter was a great Treasurer and our Government has been continuing the great legacy of Liberal and National governments. More than a million jobs have been created under our Government. The AAA credit rating has been preserved under our Government and we’re particularly getting jobs for young people. That is happening because of small and family businesses, like the hundreds that are out here at the Sydney markets. We are reducing their taxes because we’re backing them in every single day.
ROWLAND: Okay to another issue, now just a week before the very critical Wentworth by-election, Alex Turnbull, the son of the former the Prime Minister, weighed into the by-election campaign. He says in his view, the Liberal Party has been overtaken by extremists and he went on to say this.
ALEX TURNBULL – RECORDING: If you want to send a signal as to which way the Liberal Party is going and your displeasure with where it is going, then this is your opportunity. Don't vote for the Liberal Party in the Wentworth by-election if you want to pull the Liberal Party back from the brink, it’s the one clear signal you can send.
ROWLAND: Scott Morrison that doesn't make your task any easier does it, with a week to go?
PRIME MINISTER: Well Alex is his own person. His father Malcolm Turnbull is heavily supporting Dave Sharma, the only Liberal candidate running for Wentworth. If you want to see the continuation of support for small businesses, we're cutting small business taxes to 25 per cent. The Labor Party wants to put taxes up to 27.5 per cent. So if you want lower taxes for small and family businesses, if you want lower taxes for all working Australians, which we're delivering, it’s only the Liberal Party who can do that. You know, at the Wentworth by-election, I’ve got a simple message; if you want to see a continuation of the certainty for our economy and of economic management, then voting for anyone other than Dave Sharma puts all of that at risk.
If an independent is elected at the Wentworth by-election, that will throw us into a hung Parliament and a lot of uncertainty, at a time when the country doesn't need it. So I disagree with Alex, his father disagrees with him too.
ROWALND: Yes, well, Malcolm Turnbull came out at the very start of the campaign and backed in Dave Sharma. But he’s been noticeably silent since?
PRIME MINISTER: Well, he’s left Australian public life. I mean, he has left politics. He’s very supportive of Dave as you said and so that’s why Malcolm is over in New York at the moment and he's keeping a low profile, I totally understand that.
ROWALND: Hey a bit to get through in a really limited amount of time, friendly fire coming your way from all directions. The business community seemingly your natural constituency, is walking away from your Government. They are fed up, they argue, with the lack of a clear, coherent stable energy policy. What do you say to that?
PRIME MINISTER: Well look the top end of town is often critical of the Liberal Party but I tell you what, small and family businesses here that I’m standing with out here in the Sydney Markets, they know we're supporting them. Family businesses know that we're backing them. The top end of town might have their disagreements with us from time to time, but what we do is we back small and family businesses, medium sized businesses. They’re the businesses all across Australia and what we're doing for those businesses is getting their taxes down and we’re going to get their electricity prices down, which we’ve already started to see.
Because we’re focusing on the things that gets more energy into the system, more fair dinkum power into the system, reliable energy. That’s why we're pursuing the reliability guarantee. That’s we’re taking on the big energy companies. So I'm not surprised the big end of town and the big energy companies are turning against us, because frankly they know that we’ll take them to task.
ROWLAND: It’s not the big energy companies, the Business Council of Australia represents all of the blue chip companies, the big, the top end of town –
PRIME MINISTER: Yeah, the big banks and the big energy companies.
ROWLAND: They employ lots of Australians and as you know, as a former Treasurer, business craves certainty. They are very big employers, they’re important to the Australian economy, they say they do not have that when it comes to energy policy?
PRIME MINISTER: Well I disagree with them and what we’ve been doing as a Government is generating the certainty that has enabled our economy to generate over a million jobs.
When it comes right down to it, the Liberal and National Parties, we stand for those small and family businesses that are here today, that are here every morning, working hard. We're giving them tax relief. We’re going to give them the certainty of lower electricity prices by focusing on the things that gets those electricity prices down.
If the big businesses want to go out there and play footsie with the Labor Party, well, that's often what they do.
What we’ll do is focus on small and family businesses like we always have, because they know we've got their back.
ROWLAND: Okay just about out of time, lots of speculation this morning about just who will be the next Governor General. You colleague Julian Leeser a Sydney Liberal MP last night told a that gathering he wouldn't be opposed to either Prince Harry or Prince William taking the job, what do you think about that?
PRIME MINISTER: You know what, I’m not really thinking about who the next Governor General is. What I’m thinking about is how I'm going to get electricity prices down, how I’m going to deal with the drought. I’m thinking about the aged care royal commission which I’ve announced this week so Australians can have confidence about the care that senior Australians are receiving and their loved ones.
They're my priorities. That's my focus. Look, I welcome the debate about who people think it should be, but it's a very important position and Sir Peter Cosgrove has been doing an amazing job. I want to thank him for his service to our country but right now, I'm focused on getting taxes down, electricity prices down, focusing on the drought and growing our economy.
Because only if you have a strong economy, can you guarantee the essential services that Australians rely on. The people at Sydney Markets working hard, they’re guaranteeing those essential services by growing their businesses.
ROWLAND: Okay in all seriousness, there is speculation about Sir Angus Houston, as the next Governor General, the former Defence chief, would he have your support?
PRIME MINISTER: We’ll make a decision in due course, but it’s not something that's burning a hole in my agenda at the moment. The things that are burning a hole in my agenda is how I can continue to support Australian households and families, and small and family businesses around the country and make sure that we have got their back. Because we do; lowering taxes for all of them, driving an economy that will support better wages and higher living standards. That's what the Liberal and National parties have always been about, that's what is in our DNA. That's what I will continue to focus on.
ROWLAND: Okay Scott Morrison, thank you very much for joining News Breakfast, don't be a stranger, hope to see you again.
PRIME MINISTER: Thanks, Michael, great to be here.